Despite strong claims for the importance of emotional intelligence (EI) in the workplace, few studies have empirically examined the influence of emotional intelligence on career success. Theoretically, emotional intelligence should help employees to develop stronger interpersonal relationships and leadership skills, leading to higher financial compensation. To test this proposed relationship, we examine whether an ability-based measure of emotional intelligence in 126 college students predicts their salaries 10 to 12 years post workforce entry, controlling for personality, general mental ability, gender, and college GPA. We find that emotional intelligence has a significant, positive effect on subsequent salary levels, and that this effect is: 1) mediated by having a mentor and 2) stronger at higher organizational levels than at lower levels. Our results suggest that emotional intelligence helps individuals to acquire the social capital needed to be successful in their careers. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
RODE, J.C., ARTHAUD-DAY, M., RAMASWAMI, A. and HOWES, S. (2017). A Time-Lagged Study of Emotional Intelligence and Salary. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 101, pp. 77-89.